Lincoln Christian Fellowship’s
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20.
Our primary concern for the children that God brings to Lincoln Christian Fellowship is to see them develop a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and to become His disciples. Everything we do in Children’s Ministry is centered on that goal. To that end, we have the following priorities:
“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts."
Welcome to the Children’s Ministry! We are glad that you are part of this team. Jesus holds children very close to His heart, and we at Lincoln Christian Fellowship do as well. With God’s Word as our highest priority, we have designed the Children’s Ministry in such a way that these kids can learn on their level and at their pace. Every child should be able to leave our church feeling well cared for and closer to Jesus. The handbook that follows is a compilation of information that will help you better minister to the children at Lincoln Christian Fellowship. Our prayer is that God will use you mightily to touch the lives of many families through the gifts and talents He has granted you. It’s not what you can do for God, but rather what God can do through you. Go for it! Who knows what exciting plans He has for you!
Childrens Minstry Structure
1. JESUS is our Chief Executive Officer.
5. Helpers are Teacher’s assistants in the classroom
As a volunteer in the Children’s Ministry, you have been entrusted with the most prized possession our parents have: their children. We want to make sure that all of our parents feel comfortable and confident leaving their children with us. The Lord has asked us to give 100%. We are to run in such a way to win the prize. To ensure that we are ministering on a top-notch level, we require all volunteers to meet the following requirements. Each volunteer must…
1. Have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that stems from an assurance of salvation.
2. Be baptized according to Christ’s command. If you have not yet done so, please attend the next baptism.
3. Have been attending Lincoln Fellowship on a regular basis for at least six months.
4. Complete a Ministry Application and pass a criminal background check.
5. Arrive 20 minutes prior to the service you are ministering in.
6. Live a life above accusation or reproach, keeping in mind our kids are to “follow us as we follow Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Character is who you are when no one else is watching.
The Bible declares that to receive one little child in Jesus’ name is to receive Jesus Himself. (Matthew 18:5) Each and every child and parent are special in His sight. He has their very hairs numbered. For that reason, we want to always carry an attitude of hospitality and a countenance that reflects the fruit of the Spirit.
Always make every effort to greet each family with a smile and a warm welcome. Be sensitive to the fact that for many newcomers, a church atmosphere where the children worship separately from the adults can be somewhat intimidating. In addition, music playing while the children enter or an activity already underway is a great way to set an upbeat mood for the day or evening. It is up to us to help them feel welcome and at ease. We are the body of Christ. How would Jesus greet and love them?
We always strive to live our lives above reproach. “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” (James 3:1). We never want to find ourselves in a questionable position. For this reason, we have established several rules to which all volunteers are asked to adhere:
- Never lay a hand on a child during discipline. Refer to our “Discipline” section for further instruction.
- Always encourage “side hugs” as opposed to full frontal hugs with a child.
- Never find yourself alone with a child in a room.
- Never allow a child to sit on your lap if you are a man.
- Never use any language that would be considered questionable.
- Never show a movie without obtaining prior approval from the CM coordinator.
- Always keep your reputation as a Christian in the forefront of your mind; this includes your home and personal life. -
- Remember that we represent Jesus.
SIGN IN/SIGN OUT: GENERAL PROCEDURES
1) An adult must be the one to sign kids in and out while the other(s) keeps the class occupied.
2) Personally greet each child and parent. If we don’t notice a family come in, they may feel we won’t notice their child leave. A good first impression is the best impression.
3) The parent who signed the child in must be the same parent who signs the child out, unless otherwise indicated in the appropriate box on the sign-in sheet.
Although we are pleased that parents do not wish to miss church, we ask that they stay home and care for their kids if they are sick. If a child is (or gets) sick, parents may use the benches in the fellowship area to sit together with their child. Always use a lot of tact when addressing the parent of a sick child. The Children’s Ministry coordinator is available to assist you in addressing this issue. Explain that our heart is to see the child get better in a quieter environment and that this will help to keep the classrooms as germ-free as possible. One sick child could cause other children to get sick. Signs of sickness may include: green, runny nose, coughing, rash, and fever.
If you realize that child is sick AFTER they have been checked in, ask a deacon or greeter in the lobby to put the child’s number up, and explain our policy to the parent.
CALLING PARENTS OUT OF SERVICE
Parents should be called out of service sparingly. One of our goals is to make sure parents have the opportunity to hear God's Word! However, we should call for a parent when a child or baby is inconsolable for a period of time (example: separation anxiety), has a medical issue, or has been willfully disobedient after multiple warnings. Some parents may express their own preferences as to when you should call for them.
CLASSROOM MANGEMENT for ages 3-10
A wise person once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Being prepared is one of the keys to being a successful Children’s Ministry volunteer. Here are some helpful suggestions that will make your class time enjoyable and fulfilling:
1. Pray for your class several times during the week. Prayer changes things!
2. Begin your week by looking over the lesson plan. At least know the subject so ideas can start to gel together.
3. Ask God for creativity to reach your kids on their level. Schedule blocks of time for each activity. This will help you to be deliberate rather than “just floating through” the class time, hoping things come together. Remember that you are the teacher. The kids count on you to keep them from losing interest.
4. Arrive early enough to set up your classroom, retrieve your supplies from the children’s ministry closet, if needed, and properly get your thoughts together.
5. Have things for the kids to do as they enter so that boredom does not set in even before the class begins.
6. Familiarize yourself with the supplies in the classroom, closet and cabinet.
7. Assign helpers for line leader, paper distribution, snack, clean up, etc. to save time and promote responsibility and self – confidence.
8. Display an example of the arts and crafts projects. Limit projects to those that can be completed during class time. Do not assign complicated tasks or projects for the kids to take home and then bring back – our desire is to bless the parents, not burden them.
9. When doing messy arts and crafts, keep clean up tools close by (paper towels, water, and wipes).
10. Use newspaper to cover tables during messy arts and craft projects.
What do teachers want? They want classrooms full of kids who are excited to be in church, busily engaged in meaningful learning, and motivated to stay on task.
What do kids want? Believe it or not, they want exactly the same thing!
Teachers who are masters at classroom discipline aren’t born that way – they’re trained. These teachers have learned what makes kids tick, how to teach kids of all learning styles, and the importance of respecting their students.
The following information offers you some tools for becoming that kind of teacher. You’ll learn to honor children as Jesus honored them, to understand and meet their needs, and to recognize and deal with differences in the personalities and learning styles.
GOOD DISCIPLINE EQUALS DISCIPLING:
The root word for discipline is disciple. So why is it that we think of “discipling” as positive and disciplining as negative? Perhaps the problem with discipline in our classrooms begins with what we believe about discipline.
Check out the dictionary definition of discipline: “training, especially training of the mind or character; a trained condition of order and obedience.” Good discipline, like discipling, trains kids to develop self-control. Training is the key word here – not punishment. Good discipline is guidance toward right behavior, which is much more effective than punishment for wrong behavior.
The goal of discipline in our Christian classrooms must be to train children to be Christ-like. Discipline is an ongoing process in which teacher control gradually gives way to Christian self-control or, should we say, God-control.
God’s Word acknowledges the painful part of the discipline process:
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it”- Hebrews 12:11.
As teachers, we need to prayerfully, carefully, and continually demonstrate to kids that our goal is not to shame or blame them; rather, our goal is to help them become like Jesus!
Stated plainly, we are training our kids by using discipline. The question is now raised of how to discipline. What is appropriate?
Before any method of discipline is used, there must always be rules in place first. Someone once said, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” It could also be said, “Relationship without rules leads to rehab.” Most of the people who are in programs and facilities today are kids who grew up without any restraints or rules that would keep them off that destructive path. Rules are very important.
Before each and every class period starts, always go over the rules. Keep it simple, but make them count. Two or three rules are sufficient. Make a game out of it to help the kids learn them. If the children can read, write them on the board for all to see. If they cannot read, verbalize the rules and have hand motions for them. Clearly explaining the rules will enable children to choose their action and will cause them to be without excuse for disobedience.
Here are three rules already being implemented in the classroom:
OPEN YOUR EARS, CLOSE YOUR MOUTH, OPEN YOUR HEART TO WHAT JESUS HAS TO SAY TO YOU.
WALK YOUR TALK:
Too often, we ask kids to behave one way while the teenage and adult workers in the room are behaving in just the opposite way. We observe teachers trying to get preschoolers to sit down on the floor during a Bible story while other adults are sitting behind the kids in chairs. In elementary classes, we will ask kids to be quiet and listen to the speaker, only to have other adults stand in the back of the room and talk. What is a child supposed to do, follow the spoken rule or the example set by the adult leaders?
A merciful way to deal with a child who is frequently a problem is to gently prompt the entire class. You can refocus children on the task at hand and away from distractions without drawing attention to an individual.
Offer clear reasons for a rule. If we can’t state the reason for a rule, it’s time to rethink the rule’s validity and purpose. When your rules are based on Biblical guidelines, use Scripture appropriately. Be ready with Scripture that will motivate your students to demonstrate good behavior.
1. NEVER LAY A HAND ON CHILDREN OR SPANK THEM. Never turn the lights out as a means of punishment. Always stay in control of your emotions.
2. If the child returns the next week with the same bad behavior, please let the parent know what is going on. This conversation should always be done with great love and tact. Let them know what you see as the strengths and weaknesses of their child. Ask if there is anything that you can specifically pray for. However, don't give parents unsolicited advice about their child. Remember, we want the parent to know how their child is behaving because we know they are the most powerful influence for good or bad in their child’s life.
3. If the behavior persists into the third week, repeat the above steps, ending with the Children’s ministry overseer speaking with the parents. Remember, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9). Don’t give up! God can soften the heart of the hardest child
4. Try to give honest and succinct feedback to parents often: make it a regular part of signing kids out. “Jimmy did a really great job today during class”...or...”Jimmy really struggled with listening today.” Be private, concise, and gentle when giving negative feedback. Most parents really want to know how their child is doing in class even if they don't ask.
5. Lead with understanding and love. Our classrooms should be run in an orderly, no-nonsense, under-control style; yet always remember that bad behavior may be indicative of something going on at home or school. This is a prime opportunity to minister to the child. We do not always know what is truly going on in these children's bodies, minds and hearts.
Snacks are provided for your use in the children’s ministry closet. Cheerios and Animal crackers are available for babies. If you choose to bring in a special snack, please take note that some children may be allergic to sugar, milk, chocolate, peanut butter, etc. Some children also may be diabetic.
Games can be very effective in the classroom, and we encourage them in conjunction with your lesson. Please remember to always keep safety first.
Teachers, please be sure you clean up the room before you leave the class. The papers and trash should be thrown in the trash can provided, and the room should be vacuumed. Take the attendance sheet and place it in the file bin in the cabinet. Leave the room in good condition for the next teacher. Don’t forget to use the kids for clean up. They need opportunities to serve.
As much as we all enjoy the holidays, there are some general guidelines for not mixing too much of the “world” in with our main objective: sharing about Jesus:
1. In celebrating a holiday, always seek to bring Christ into it.
2. Always emphasize Jesus during Christmas and Easter. Santa and the Easter Bunny don’t deserve any more publicity than they have already received.
3. Don't celebrate Halloween in class; some parents will not be comfortable with this.
As mentioned earlier, we have been entrusted with the parents’ most prized possessions, their children. The Children’s Ministry wants to always practice “safety first.” For this reason please take note of the following guidelines:
1.NEVER leave your class unattended by an adult, even for a minute.
2. Make yourself aware of any potential problems before the class begins such as broken tables, sharp objects sticking out, hot radiators etc. Remove the problem yourself or have your Coordinator remove it.
3. Take at least 2 head counts each time you serve. The number of heads should match the number of names on your list.
4. Take note of any allergies of the children in your classroom.
5. Be aware of the closest exit in case of an evacuation or fire.
6. Never allow a child under 1st grade to visit the restroom alone. Always stand outside the door of the restroom until the child is finished. Women should be the ones to do bathroom breaks and there should not be more then one child in the bathroom at a time. Stand in the hall if you need to be above reproach. 2 and 3 year-olds might need extra attention. Be sure to help them wash their hands.
7. Keep an eye out for any person who might look suspicious. Report anything questionable to the deacon in the lobby or the Children's Ministry Overseer.
In the case of a life-or-death emergency, always call 911. The following would be considered life-or-death emergencies: loss of consciousness, no breathing, excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, choking that causes loss of consciousness, etc. NEVER move a child that appears seriously injured. Have one volunteer stay with the child until help arrives.
In the case of a non-life-or-death emergency, take the following steps:
1. Pray while you assess the extent of the problem. One volunteer must stay with the child while the other gets help. Always stay calm and never move an injured child. You could cause further damage.
2.Pray with the child and reassure him or her that everything is going to be taken care of.
3. For minor cuts and scrapes, first aid kits are located in the Children’s Ministry closet. Please wear gloves when dealing with any type of blood.
4.You must fill out an accident report for all incidents, including biting incidents. These are obtained from the Children’s Ministry Overseer. All incidents are to be reported to the Children’s Ministry Overseer.
5. Never, under any circumstance, administer medicine, diaper creams or pills of any form.
In the case of a FIRE or Fire Alarm, please follow these procedures:
1. Calmly and quickly line up your class. If you are in an infant or toddler room, pick up as many babies as you can hold. The leadership in the church knows to report immediately to these rooms to assist you with every child.
2. Head for the closest exit as marked on the exit route in your room.
3. In an attitude of prayer, keep your class calm until you are cleared to enter the building again. Sing a song or tell a story to help keep them at ease.
In the case of a POWER OUTAGE, please follow these procedures:
1. PRAY and stay calm. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6,7).
2. Locate your flashlight in your room and use it.
3. Keep the kids busy with a song or story until you receive further instruction. Don't leave the room unless instructed.
SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE
If you or any other worker suspects child abuse, there is only one step that you need to take: report the situation quickly and directly to the Children’s Ministry Overseer.
We take this issue very seriously. Never take matters into your own hands and never discuss your suspicions with anyone other than the Children's Ministry Overseer or Pastor Sam. It may or may not be a founded suspicion; therefore, we must keep things confidential as possible in dealing with this problem. Remember to pray for the child and family. God cares very much for these little ones and so do we.
From time to time, due to sickness or vacation, you will have the need to find a replacement to fill in for you. Please attempt to swap with another CM worker before calling Jess Evans, the CM scheduler, for help. You can contact her at 207-299-5311 or on the LCF Children's Ministry page on Facebook.
Lincoln Christian Fellowship Page of
Children’s Ministry Handbook Revised: 2/27/18